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Hi! I'm Heather. I've been a practicing attorney for the last 15 years, and I'd be happy to assist you for informational and educational purposes.
I am so sorry you are in this situation.
The statute of frauds, which exists in most states, requires contracts like this to be in writing and signed in order for them to be enforced. Unfortunately, your contract for a life estate was not in writing.
It is possible, under the doctrine of part performance, that you can get the judge to enforce the verbal agreement for the life estate, if you can prove that the agreement exists, and that the terms of the agreement are clear and definite. This is a complicated case, unfortunately. I have had many cases on this issue in court, and they aren't cut and dry. They take a while to resolve. However, if you file the case, you can likely get a stay on her selling the farm, and file a notice against the property informing prospective buyers that you are claiming an interest in the property. The document you would file against the property is called a lis pendens. If you do that, you can at least stop the sale from happening and delay it until the judge decides your case about the life estate.
Has that helped?